Ohio Horror: Coroner Says Imperial House Victims Appear to Have Been Strangled

Saturday press conference
Saturday press conference

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -  The Cuyahoga County Coroner says the six Imperial house victims appear to have all been females and appear to have all been strangled.

The Coroner also says the bodies could have been there for days, weeks, months and years.

Cleveland Police arrested 50-year-old convicted rapist Anthony Sowell on Saturday after police discovered several bodies in a home Thursday evening while trying to serve a search warrant.

A witness spotted Sowell walking down Mount Auburn Street around 12 p.m. Saturday and called police, who made the arrest quickly without incident in front of 9677 Mount Auburn.

Cleveland Police and the Cuyahoga County Coroner must now try to identify the six bodies that are decomposing in various stages. There is a command post at E.123rd and Soika to report missing persons.

Cleveland Police first discovered two badly decomposed bodies on the third floor of E. 122 and Imperial Thursday night.  Friday, cops found another body in what appeared to be a shallow grave.

Late Friday evening, police found two more bodies inside of the home and another in the backyard.

Cleveland Police Lt. Thomas Stacho tells 19 Action News this is now an official homicide investigation and that "it's to the point where our investigators can't tell if they're men, women, young, old, black or white. It's that bad."

The Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office completed the first two autopsies Friday and the final four on Saturday. The bodies have not been identified at this time.

"I just screamed all the way back home," said neighbor Debbie Madison as she choked back tears. "I could not believe this was happening."

Sowell spent 15-years in an Ohio penitentiary in 1989 for rape.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cleveland Police Sex Crimes Unit at 216.623.5630 or US Marshals Service Fugitive hotline at 1-866-4-WANTED.

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